Evils great and small

Butler Shaffer wrote a post called, “Why TSA, Wars, State Defined Diets, Seat-Belt Laws, the War On Drugs, Police Brutality, and Efforts to Control the Internet, Are Essential to the State”. I find his post very enlightening and I should mention that Butler Shaffer is a favorite of mine. He has written a post that almost seems to have been lifted right out of my mind. The rascal!

He started by quoting Carl Jung:

Whenever justice is uncertain and police spying and terror are at work, human beings fall into isolation, which, of course, is the aim and purpose of the dictator state, since it is based on the greatest accumulation of depotentiated social units. ~ Carl Jung

Jung knew that the human is oriented towards voluntary cooperation and will find ways to come into agreement with others if given the chance. I once watched a small church that never did anything unless there was near unanimous agreement; and one would have thought that they would never get anything done, but they did all sorts of social projects to help others. They were amazing. Voluntary cooperation is pretty amazing when you think about it.

Butler Shaffer starts his essay with:

The title of this article encompasses topics that arouse attention and criticism among persons of libertarian persuasion. The discussion of such matters usually treats each issue as though it were sui generis, independent of one another. Most of us respond as though the woman who is groped at the airport has no connection with the man who is tasered by a police officer; that the person serving time in prison for selling marijuana is unrelated to the men being held at Guantanamo. The belief that one person’s maltreatment is isolated from the rest of us, is essential to the maintenance of state power.

What we have in common is the need to protect one another’s inviolability from governmental force. When we understand that the woman being groped by a TSA agent stands in the same shoes as our wife, mother, or grandmother; when the man being beaten by a sadist cop is seen, by us, as our father or grandfather, we become less willing to evade the nature of the wrongdoing by invoking the coward’s plea: “better him than me.” The state owes its very existence to the success it has had in fostering division among us, a topic I explored in my Calculated Chaos book. Divide-and-conquer has long been the mainstay in political strategy. If blacks and whites; or Christians and Muslims; or employees and employers; or “straights” and “gays”; or men and women; or any of seemingly endless abstractions, learn to identify and separate themselves from one another, the state has established its base of power. From such mutually-exclusive categories do we draw the endless “enemies” (e.g., communists, drug-dealers, terrorists, tobacco companies) we are to fear, and against whom the state promises its protection. By becoming fearful, we become existentially disabled, and readily accept whatever safeguards the institutional fear-mongers impose, . . . all for our “benefit,” of course!

Look at the title of this article: do you find any governmental program or practice therein that is not grounded in state-generated fear? Each one – and the numerous others not mentioned – presumes a threat to your well-being against which the state must take restrictive and intrusive action. Terrorists might threaten the flight you are about to take; terrorist nations might have “weapons of mass destruction” and the intention to use them against you; your children might be at risk from drug dealers or from sex perverts using the Internet; driving without a seat-belt, or eating “junk” foods might endanger you: the list goes on and on, changing as the fear-peddlers dream up another dreaded condition in life.

We will continue to see illegal wars like the present one on [name of latest invaded country goes here] out of the evil American Empire as long as the people allow their government to continue to dominate the people in small ways as well as large ones. It is all connected. Shaffer makes a great point here.

Michael: My father is no different from any powerful man, any man with power, like a president or senator.

Kay Adams: Do you know how naïve you sound, Michael? Presidents and senators don’t have men killed.

Michael: Oh, who’s being naïve, Kay?

~ The Godfather (1972)

The idea is an old one, and a simple one: power corrupts and dehumanizes. We must give up the drug of government to again be able to enjoy the bliss of freedom and liberty. More importantly, the very survival of humanity itself calls out for us to abandon the military adventures that governments always bring forth. How can we do this? Stop being a coward and embrace the idea of anarchy.

We must realize the the small evils that happen to others are just as important as the larger evils as these small evils feed the larger ones. We must also be aware that what happens to one in our society happens to all of us. When the government tramples on the rights of the least of us; it tramples on the rights of us all. Remember that in all you do.


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